Monthly Archives: January 2019

Oral History Guides & Preservation Resources

If you are interesting in conducting oral histories, recording oral histories (audio or video), and/or preserving digital oral histories but you’re unsure of where or how to start, consult the resources below. They will assist you in getting your oral history project off of the ground.

Questions can also be directed to the Digital Initiatives team at the North Dakota State Library. Also, if you are interested in donating a digital copy of your oral history to the State Library and have it made available online on Digital Horizons, contact Digital Initiatives.

Oral History Guides

Preserving Digital Oral Histories

Audio/Visual Preservation

Library Advocacy

It is important to always advocate for your library. Because more often than not, libraries easily fall victim to budget cuts (at every level – including federal and state).

Advocacy is not just talking to legislators. It is also includes things like advocating in your community or to any random stranger you bump in to who says, “Tell me more about the library.”

There are common misconceptions that libraries are essentially museums for books, nobody uses libraries anymore, and everything libraries offer can instead be accessed online. These could not be further from the truth, but these misconceptions are often the reason libraries need to advocate. It is the responsibility of library advocates to dispel these inaccurate misconceptions and to educate folks on the continued importance of libraries.

Advocacy should be an ongoing process, so advocates need to be proactive. Advocates can be librarians (directors and staff), trustees (board members), Friends and Foundation members, library users, community leaders, and any other library stakeholders.

But where does one start? Advocacy can be intimidating for some. Thankfully, there are numerous free resources available online to help you.

Great places to start (in no particular order):

Statistics, numbers, and data:

Statistics and fun facts are a sensible method to prove the worth of libraries. Statistics can be very eye-opening for people who may not know enough about libraries. For example:

  • In 2017, there were more people who visited North Dakota public libraries (2,162,559) than those who attended Minnesota Vikings games (1,099,905).
  • In the United States, there are more public libraries than McDonald’s or Starbucks.
  • Americans visit public, school, and academic libraries more than 3 times as frequently as they go to the movies.

Numbers can really drive the point home. However, don’t use too many figures. That may overwhelm folks. Consider doing something fun with the data, like an infographic. Infographics are brief and visual. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create an infographic. You can easily create free infographics online by using the website Canva.

To view the data from past annual reports, you can view the usage maps (see link below) or you can contact the State Library to get a copy of the raw data in an Excel Spreadsheet.

The State Library creates a fun infographic every year based on the data that is submitted by North Dakota public libraries on their annual reports. The infographics are available as PDFs on the State Library’s website (see link below).

You can also retrieve data and fun facts from national resources, such as ALA and IMLS (see links below).

Value of libraries/ return on investment:

  • Library Value Calculator (American Library Association) – How valuable is your library? Use this calculator to help determine your library’s return on investment.
  • An Excel Spreadsheet version of this Library Value Calculator can be downloaded here (this version is easier to print and the data can be easily updated): library-value-calculator.xlsx


It is important to know who your local, state, and federal legislators are in case you need to reach out to them. Be on friendly terms and have a positive relationship with your elected officials, as you want them to support libraries.

Importance of libraries:

North Dakota resources:

Additional resources from ALA: